Sáenz, Benjamin Alire. Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe. New York: Simon & Schuster BFYR, 2012.
Aristotle and Dante meet at the pool one summer when Dante offers to teach Ari how to swim. They soon find that they are total opposites, but they develop a strong bond as their friendship grows. Ari is drawn to Dante’s self-assured demeanor as Ari struggles with his identity and with relationships in his family. Dante is able to help Ari break down the barriers that he has built as they discover that the universe is a huge and complicated place.
Benjamin Alire Sáenz writes a beautifully complicated story of loyalty, love and friendship. Ari and Dante are both complicated characters who evolve gradually through Sáenz’s excellent writing. The relationship between Ari and Dante is handled very carefully as they each discover the power of their friendship. The secondary Latino theme is genuine as the characters search for their cultural identity as well. The relationship between Ari and Dante is handled delicately as they slowly discover their growing feelings for each other. The story is told skillfully and with genuine honesty that will touch readers as they enjoy this emotionally revealing masterpiece.
"A tender, honest exploration of identity and sexuality, and a passionate reminder that love—whether romantic or familial—should be open, free, and without shame." ~Publishers Weekly, starred review
"Meticulous pacing and finely nuanced characters underpin the author's gift for affecting prose that illuminates the struggles within relationships." ~Kirkus Reviews, starred review
"Sáenz writes toward the end of the novel that “to be careful with people and words was a rare and beautiful thing.” And that’s exactly what Sáenz does—he treats his characters carefully, giving them space and time to find their place in the world, and to find each other...those struggling with their own sexuality may find it to be a thought-provoking read." ~Booklist
“Ari’s first-person narrative—poetic, philosophical, honest—skillfully develops the relationship between the two boys from friendship to romance." ~The Horn Book
American Book Award Winner
Stonewall Book Award
Pura Belpre Award
Michael L. Printz Honor
**Other books by Benjamin Alire Sáenz:
Names on a Map: A Novel
Sammy and Juliana in Hollywood
He Forgot to Say Goodbye
In Perfect Light